One thing I can tell your for sure about bringing in Gus Malzahn to run the Auburn football program is that there is not a single coach at the other Southeastern Conference programs that wanted to see that happen.
I believe Auburn can recruit offensive players who are as good as Oregon's or any other school in the country that is running the type of offense that Gus has had success with on the college level. He has a great reputation for being an innovative offensive coach and I think the Tigers are in good shape on that side of the ball.
His first hire was Ellis Johnson as defensive coordinator and that is a move I?really like. I believe Ellis is going to be a key to the program's success and he is a very important part of this deal. Because of Coach Johnson's experience I am sure that Gus is going to turn over the defense to him and Ellis will get the job done.
From a recruiting standpoint and reputation, nobody in this part of the country has got a better reputation in the coaching business than Ellis Johnson has got. He's been in the SEC and understands the league. He knows the recruiting paths and he's got the kind of personality that people like.
Being at Auburn for 30 years, and knowing the program and the people like I do, I understand there was a lot of support for other candidates to win the coaching job. I was not involved in the decision to hire the coach in any form or fashion, but I had my opinion like most other Auburn folks did and I don't mind saying my choice would have been Kirby Smart. However, having said that my opinion was only based on where he has been and what he has done because I don't know if he would have done a good job at Auburn or not.
What I do know is that the committee that stepped in to help with the search featuring former players Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Mac Crawford was qualified to know and understand what is needed at Auburn. Because their choice was Gus, my choice is Gus.
I went by to see Coach Malzahn after he accepted the job and told him I am totally on board and I hope for nothing but the best for him and his program.
I know there was a lot of support and lobbying for different candidates and I know that some people were disappointed that their favorite didn't get the job. I understand that, but I believe the big thing now is for everybody to get off the negative and get on the positive side and let's move forward.
If I could give a message to our people, and the new coaches coming in and Coach Malzahn, don't worry about what's going on around us. The only thing that we can do anything about is us. Let's make sure we take care of ourselves and concentrate on making Auburn the best we can be.
I am excited about where this program is headed. Gus Malzahn is a great guy. He is a man of character, a man of vision and is the type of man we want representing Auburn University.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.